Tag Archives: Missouri River

Watching Eagles Soar, Gavins Point Dam, Yankton, SD

15 Mar
A bald eagle looks down from its perch near the spillway at Gavins Point Dam on the Missouri River outside of Yankton, SD Saturday , January 8, 2022. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It’s been an exciting winter this year in Siouxland to have been able to to see so many bald eagles and enjoy watching them cavort in and around the Gavins Point Dam near Yankton, SD and elsewhere.

A bald eagle launches itself off a branch as it takes to the sky near the spillway at Gavins Point Dam on the Missouri River outside of Yankton, SD Saturday , January 8, 2022. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A bald eagle launches itself off a branch to check for fish near the spillway at Gavins Point Dam on the Missouri River outside of Yankton, SD Saturday , January 8, 2022. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The birds or raptors are so fierce seeing them up close with a telephoto lens. And bird migration for the coming warmer months has begun as well with various species making their annual return trip for spending the spring, summer and early part of the fall months before making the trek again.

But it will be nice to see some green re-emerge and add some color to the landscape. And enjoying warmer weather, although winter has been overly warm itself, just not on a daily basis.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

People gather to watch bald eagles near the spillway at Gavins Point Dam on the Missouri River outside of Yankton, SD Saturday , January 8, 2022. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A juvenile bald eagle sits on an ice outcropping looking for a meal near the spillway at Gavins Point Dam on the Missouri River outside of Yankton, SD Saturday , January 8, 2022. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A juvenile bald eagle holds onto a fish it took out of the river near the spillway at Gavins Point Dam on the Missouri River outside of Yankton, SD Saturday , January 8, 2022. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Soaring in Siouxland on a Blustery Day, Gavins Point Dam, Yankton, SD

19 Feb
A bald eagle rides an air current near the spillway at Gavins Point Dam on the Missouri River outside of Yankton, SD Tuesday , January 11, 2022. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I never realized living in Siouxland that there are so many areas where it’s possible to view bald eagles depending on the time of year. It is so fascinating watching them fish and soar and just hang out with their brethren as we mere human mortals watch them. While working for so many years in the area it never occurred to me to go check them out or find the places one could watch them. Duh. Other priorities and tasks awaited free time then.

An adult bald eagle sits in a tree over a parking lot near the spillway at Gavins Point Dam on the Missouri River outside of Yankton, SD Tuesday , January 11, 2022. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I have photographed these creatures a few time in different places and probably have taken too too many photographs. Not all of which are stellar, or even close to other photographers’ images. But it’s a nice challenge and an enjoyable experience to see them up close and personal in a way, especially near Gavins Point Dam where the trees the birds roost in at times are almost if not quite eye level to places a person can stand, watch and photograph.

A bald eagle cry out from a tree overlooking the spillway at Gavins Point Dam on the Missouri River outside of Yankton, SD Tuesday , January 11, 2022. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Another bald eagle comes in for a landing to a tree near the spillway at Gavins Point Dam on the Missouri River outside of Yankton, SD Tuesday , January 11, 2022. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

From a nearby vantage point a person can watch bald eagles interact in a tree overlooking the spillway at Gavins Point Dam on the Missouri River outside of Yankton, SD Tuesday , January 11, 2022. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And it’s a nice excuse to get out of the house, breathe some fresh air and watch some magnificent creatures in real life rather than on a nature show on the television, or online as well these days. Sometimes it’s those quick and fleeting moments that can bring joy, as these creatures don’t generally stay in one spot for long.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A bald eagle makes a landing on a blustery day in a tree overlooking the spillway at Gavins Point Dam on the Missouri River outside of Yankton, SD Tuesday , January 11, 2022. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A bald eagle completes a landing on a blustery day in a tree overlooking the spillway at Gavins Point Dam on the Missouri River outside of Yankton, SD Tuesday , January 11, 2022. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A bald eagle balances on a branch as it is buffeted by a gust of wind on a tree’s branch overlooking the spillway at Gavins Point Dam on the Missouri River outside of Yankton, SD Tuesday , January 11, 2022. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A bald eagle heads back to a place it can enjoy its catch of fish from the Missouri River near the spillway at Gavins Point Dam outside of Yankton, SD Tuesday , January 11, 2022. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Enjoying a Day Out in Siouxland, Little Sioux

26 Jan
An American White pelican lands on the Little Sioux River looking for a snack, located near Little Sioux, Iowa. The Little Sioux River feeds into the Missouri River Wednesday, December 22, 2021. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Some outings in Siouxland are just a nice day out with hopes of finding something of interest to photograph. Some days are bust, some days are golden, and some days are just a nice day out.

This winter the weather has been see sawing back and forth between cold and warm. During a warm outing in late December I checked out an area to see what I might find that I have driven by numerous times. I didn’t exactly find what I was looking for, but wasn’t disappointed either.

An American White pelican flies over the Little Sioux River that feeds into the Missouri River Wednesday, December 22, 2021 near Little Sioux, Iowa. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A bald eagle sits in a tree along the Missouri River checking things out, after flying about earlier Wednesday, December 22, 2021 near Little Sioux, Iowa. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A couple of eagles were flying about the Missouri River at the junction of it and the Little Sioux River near Little Sioux. And behind an RV park there is a boat ramp both going into the Missouri River and the Little Sioux River. I don’t have a boat, but the confluence of the two bodies of water did provide a place for wildlife including the eagles and some American White Pelicans. It’s possible during the spring migration that more these birds will be passing through as the water here was not frozen over and there were not a lot of people at the time. Of course, it’s winter, and folk, like me, maybe decided it as a day better spent indoors. Here’s to spring.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

The Little Sioux River flows over some rocks creating a small rapids before emptying into the Missouri River Thursday, December 23, 2021 near Little Sioux, Iowa. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Flying Escort in Siouxland, rural Thurston County, Nebraska

19 Nov
Two Canada geese get an escort from a bevy of Red Wing blackbirds as they fly along the Missouri River on an early Nebraska morning near Winnebago, NE Sunday Oct. 17, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

In the last year I have spent more time visiting nature places in Siouxland with a concerted effort to hopefully photograph birds and other animals than in previous years. Shooting wildlife is not as easy as it seems. The critters are quite fast, but because of the pandemic I spent a good portion of my time traipsing through various nature preserves in the area, near and far. And enjoyed it. Shutting out so much “white noise” that has occurred because of people’s views on staying healthy, or not.

While walking a trail near the Missouri River not far from Winnebago, NE I saw some geese fly overhead with apparently an escort by some a flock of red-wing blackbirds. It made me think of those WWII war movies where B-51 bombers flew to Europe escorted by fighter plans to run interference during their mission. While I don’t believe the smaller birds were escorting the larger birds, it did give me pause, and a chance to marvel at nature and possible quirks I never noticed.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

History in Siouxland, the Umo`ho (Omaha) tribe, Macy, NE

14 Jun

A replica of an earth lodge of the Omaha Tribe at the scenic overlook viewing the Missouri River near Macy, NE Friday, April 25, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

As restrictions relax because of the coronavirus I look forward again in getting out and about in Siouxland and learning more about the area and its history. No matter where one lives, there are always little gems that pop up and present themselves to those interested in taking a moment to stop, look and listen.

History of the Omaha Tribe can be found at the scenic overlook viewing the Missouri River near Macy, NE Friday, April 25, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

An informational plaque informs visitors about the Omaha Tribe at the scenic overlook viewing the Missouri River near Macy, NE Friday, April 25, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Taking a highway I generally don’t drive  because of its out of the way location was this time one of those gems. A scenic overview rest area overlooking the Missiouri River between the states of Nebraska and Iowa also contained information about the history of the Omaha Tribe that has been in the Siouxland area for decades.

A replica of an Omaha Tribe earth lodge at the scenic overlook viewing the Missouri River near Macy, NE Friday, April 25, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A plaque contains information about the Omaha Tribe found at a scenic overlook viewing the Missouri River near Macy, NE Friday, April 25, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Learning history about places and people like the Omaha Tribe is so much different than when I was in elementary school simply because one can find more accurate, and less white-washed information concerning indigenous people than what was presented in the history books used when I was a child. The Old West and settling of these territories told from a perspective of Hollywood and a less than honest history by the government  of the U.S. at the time.

From a website of warpaths to peace pipes a timeline of the Omaha tribe:

  • 1541: Hernando De Soto, the Spanish explorer is the first European to encounter the Omaha

  • 1700: The first European reference to the Omaha tribe was made by Pierre-Charles Le Sueur

  • 1718: The French map maker Guillaume Delisle named the tribe as “The Maha, a wandering nation”, along the northern stretch of the Missouri River

  • 1801: A devastating smallpox epidemic decimates the Omaha people

  • 1802: The number of Omaha had declined to just 300 people due to sickness and warfare

  • 1803: The Louisiana Purchase

  • 1804: Jean Pierre Chouteau was appointed as the US Indian agent

  • 1804: Lewis and Clark expedition (1804 – 1806)

  • 1813: Manuel Lisa (1772 -1820) established Ft. Lisa, the most important trading post on the Missouri River, controlling trade with the Pawnee, Missouria, Otoe, and other neighbouring Indians from 1813 to 1822

  • 1831: The Treaty of Prairie du Chien in which the Omaha ceded their lands in Iowa to the United States

  • 1832: The artist George Catlin visits the Omaha tribe

  • 1836: They joined with other tribes in more treaties with the U.S. Government

  • 1837: Second great Smallpox epidemic kills many Native American Indians

  • 1837: The Council Bluff’s Agency supervised the tribe from 1837 – 1856

  • 1840’s: Series of bloody conflicts with the Sioux

  • 1854: The treaty of March 16, 1854 ceded all their lands west of the Missouri River and south of a line running due west

  • 1856: The Omaha Agency supervised the tribe from 1856 – 1876

  • 1865: On March 6, 1865, the Omaha sold part of their reservation to the United States

  • 1870’s: The buffalos had been deliberately slaughtered by the whites to the point of extinction so ending the lifestyle of the Great Plains Native Indians

  • 1876: Nebraska Agencies supervised the tribe from 1876 – 1880

  • 1887-1934: General Allotment Act (1887) began land allotment of Native Indian territory

But one needs to stop and take the time to learn about the history, as well as enjoying the natural beauty of an area while going about one’s life. So many twists and turns and speed bumps to sometimes getting to a destination. Life is all of that.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

An informational plaque about the Omaha Tribe at a scenic overlook viewing the Missouri River near Macy, NE Friday, April 25, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A look at the Missouri River separating Iowa and Nebraska seen from a scenic overlook near Macy, NE Friday, April 25, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Another Day in Siouxland a Different Scene Unfolds, Mulberry Bend Overlook

10 Oct

at the Mulberry Bend Overlook near Vermillion, SD Saturday, September 7, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

There is always a good argument for revisiting places one has previously visited and photographed, even in Siouxland. Time, day, time of year, it all changes what was previously witnessed and recorded. And for lucky photographers scenes are mostly not redundant making it more enticing to stop in and take a second, third or fourth look. I previously came across Mulberry Bend Overlook on a warm, humid and sunny day.

at the Mulberry Bend Overlook near Vermillion, SD Saturday, September 7, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

at the Mulberry Bend Overlook near Vermillion, SD Saturday, September 7, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I never tire of traveling about and seeing places, sharing them with friends on photo outings. One always hopes for optimal days, that is sunshine and blue sky, to photograph in, but weather and other unplanned exceptions can cause one to reevaluate how one sees and learns to adapt to situations that are not always ideal. Simple challenges are good for a photographer in broadening one’s perceptions and images captured. It also makes a hot cup of coffee taste even better on a damp, chilly day.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

at the Mulberry Bend Overlook near Vermillion, SD Saturday, September 7, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

at the Mulberry Bend Overlook near Vermillion, SD Saturday, September 7, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A rainy day at the Mulberry Bend Overlook near Vermillion, SD Saturday, September 7, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A View from the Top in Siouxland, Mulberry Bend Overlook

20 Jun

A view of the Missouri River separating Nebraska (this side) and South Dakota and the Newcastle (NE) and Vermillion (SD) Missouri River Bridge at the Mulberry Bend Overlook near Newcastle, NE Friday May 24, 2019. (PHOTO BY JERRY L MENNENGA©)

I came across a roadway leaving Vermillion, SD that crosses into Nebraska in Siouxland recently that I wasn’t familiar with but was pleasantly surprised. The bridge crossing brings one to the Mulberry Bend Overlook that sits on the Nebraska side of the Missouri River and looks out over the river and back into South Dakota. It was easy to spend an hour looking over the landscape and hiking a couple of accessible trails that were short but nice.

Information tablets and a rest area at the top of Mulberry Bend Overlook above the Missiouri River near Newcastle, NE Friday May 24, 2019 (PHOTO BY JERRY L MENNENGA©)

 

A family makes it way along a trail above the Mulberry Bend Overlook near Newcastle, NE Friday May 24, 2019 (PHOTO BY JERRY L MENNENGA©)

It’s these kinds of excursions that I enjoy coming across when out and about in the area. Something unexpected, although not for locals probably. It will be a great site to revisit during different times of the year as well as the scenery will change with seasons.

A trail leads down below the Mulberry Bend Overlook near Newcastle, NE Friday May 24, 2019, and a different view of the Newcastle (NE) and Vermillion (SD) Missouri River Bridge. (PHOTO BY JERRY L MENNENGA©)

 

A bench and an information tablet in a rest area off of a trail below the Mulberry Bend Overlook overlooking the Missouri River near Newcastle, NE Friday May 24, 2019 (PHOTO BY JERRY L MENNENGA©)

The bridge was only recently constructed within the last decade or so but makes it so much nicer to travel back and forth between the two states without driving miles away to cross over the Missiouri in Yankton, SD. But some history lessons are also included for those so inclined.

The Newcastle (NE) and Vermillion (SD) Missouri River Bridge at the Mulberry Bend Overlook near Newcastle, NE Friday May 24, 2019 (PHOTO BY JERRY L MENNENGA©)

 

An information tablet along with others gives background information about the area at a rest point at Mulberry Bend Overlook above the Missiouri River near Newcastle, NE Friday May 24, 2019 (PHOTO BY JERRY L MENNENGA©)

The views and really pleasant and spending time just looking and enjoying and hearing nature without a lot of other “white noise”, at least there were only a few other individuals there when I visited the site.

Possibly another little adventure to add to one of my Photo Safari classes I teach at a local community college, thinking those who attend that particular class will enjoy the views as much as I.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A view from a trail above the Mulberry Bend Overlook near Newcastle, NE Friday May 24, 2019 (PHOTO BY JERRY L MENNENGA©)

 

A look at the Missouri River from a trail below the Mulberry Bend Overlook near Newcastle, NE Friday May 24, 2019 (PHOTO BY JERRY L MENNENGA©)

Making Choices for Placement when Photographing in Siouxland, Sioux City

16 Feb

One of the toughest things to decide sometimes when I am photographing in Siouxland and elsewhere is how I want to frame up a subject and where I want to place that subject within the frame. Placing a subject within the frame of a photograph can evoke different emotions or feelings about that photo, even if it’s a simple outdoors image. Does a viewer believe they are right there with the photographer viewing the subject, or at a distance, purveying a scene from afar.

Perspective has a lot to do with presenting viewers images and the subjects contained within. And what is it the photographer wants the viewer to see, or experience with the image, if anything.  It’s all very subjective. But the photographer needs to show a person seeing an image what it is he/she sees, because it is their vision or perspective or object they want to share. And photography is all about visuals and sharing them with others.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A foggy day near the Missouri River Sunday, Feb. 3, 2019 in Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A foggy day near the Missouri River Sunday, Feb. 3, 2019 in Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Spring Temps bring Fog in Siouxland, Sioux City

10 Feb

Fog along the Missouri River Sunday, Feb. 3, 2019 in Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Recently Mother Nature has been giving Siouxland residents a roller coaster ride with temperatures going from extreme cold, to warm and extreme cold again. But visually it’s a break during the winter months, as well as a nice break to get outdoors without wearing 10 layers for warmth. I attended a presentation about wildlife photography recently and spent a few moments on the walking path nearby and enjoying the warmer temps and the fog created as it rose off the Missouri River. Not one anymore for being out in extreme cold, it was nice to spend a few minutes enjoying some fresh air and creating some images that don’t always occur. But Mother Nature has more in store yet this winter, and sometimes one needs to be patient to enjoy it.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A foggy day along the Missouri River Sunday, Feb. 3, 2019 in Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Fog obscures the Missouri River Sunday, Feb. 3, 2019 in Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Enjoying the Views in Siouxland, Iowa Lakes and the Missouri River

26 Sep

I enjoy visiting areas around Siouxland that incorporate bodies of water. Whether it be visiting the Iowa Lakes region or up near Yankton, SD. I like water, watching it, the views and horizons.

Enjoying a day at the lakes in Arnolds Park, Iowa Friday, Sept. 14, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Enjoying a day along the Missiouri River in Yankton, SD Saturday, Aug. 18, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I have read that bodies of water have a calming effect on people, and just gazing out onto the horizon can sometimes give us momentary peace of mind as well as making us contemplate what our own personal horizon is, and if we are willing to take the journey to reach them once we figure out what they may be.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Enjoying a day at the lakes in Arnolds Park, Iowa Friday, Sept. 14, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Enjoying a day at the lakes in Arnolds Park, Iowa Friday, Sept. 14, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

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